The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

COMMENTARY: Thank you Idaho football

Vandals lose to Albany 30-22 in FCS quarterfinals at the Kibbie Dome
The Kibbie Dome, home of the Idaho Vandals

Dear Idaho,

I just want to say: I’m thankful and I’m sorry.

In their best “Coug’d it” impression, the Idaho Vandals literally dropped the ball in their 30-22 loss to Albany in the quarterfinals of the FCS Playoffs at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.

It was my first time attending a football game at the Kibbie Dome and my first college football game in which I was not a member of the Marching Band.

The Kibbie Dome was absolutely electric. Although it was only 59% full, the 9,372 person crowd did not disappoint as U of I students and community members showed up to cheer on their team and harass the Albany Great Danes.

They were quite successful. In the game’s final minutes and with its first lead, Albany insisted on mocking the student section, waving goodbye and flashing a “V’s down” sign.

I sat one section over from the students but was thoroughly entertained at the fact that Idaho puts its student section directly behind the visiting team’s bench.

Albany, for most of the game, was not as entertained as I was.

The Vandals led for the majority of the game. Freshman quarterback Gevani McCoy completed 24-of-43 passes for 317 yards and one touchdown and freshman running back Anthony Woods rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts. The only other Vandal to rush for positive yardage generated eight yards. 

In the air, Idaho relied on junior Hayden Hatten who hauled in 12 passes for 135 yards, junior Jermaine Jackson racked up 66 yards on four catches and freshman Jordan Dwyer of Pullayup caught the lone Vandal receiving touchdown.

Idaho wasted little time, as McCoy threw a bullet 36 yards down the field to find Dwyer with his toes on the goalpost, far in front of the two Albany defenders. The Vandals led 7-0.

The Kibbie Dome lights strobed and that place was loud. I screamed and jumped up and down because nothing else mattered. For the first time in my life, college football in December was fun.

Albany answered with a combination that would prove to win them the game. Sophomore QB Reese Poffenbarger found senior Brevin Easton 40 yards down the field. Easton outran a Vandal defensive back and left him rolling over on his back as he bound 20 yards after the catch scotch-free. Touchdown Albany.

Easton dominated the day as he racked up 228 yards on nine catches. He averaged a ridiculous 25.3 yards per catch with a long of 64.

At some point in the game, my friends and I realized that Albany was a purple school with a dog for a mascot. A combination that brings nothing but disdain, misery and hatred to the hearts of Cougs and on that day, any fan of Palouse sports as well.

For the Kibbie Dome, it is the little things that bring the most joy. The dome itself is most charming, with seats that, even more than 10 rows back, put you quite close to the field.

I also really loved the fact that the ball hit the wall and bounced right back through the uprights on successful field goals and PATs.

It was a pleasure to see the Kibbie Dome well on its way to hosting Super Bowl 98 as I believe it will.

Idaho mustered just 6 points in the second half as the Albany defense stood tall. Albany scored nothing in the third quarter but scored 16 unanswered points to lead by 11 with 46 seconds left.

After the Great Danes forced a fumble to set up their final dagger of a touchdown drive, the boastful Great Danes began to flash their “V’s down” signs and flaunt the angry Idaho fans.

The Vandals tried to rally, driving down the field and kicking a field goal with 25 seconds remaining. They could not muster the on-side kick as Albany recovered the ball and punched their ticket to Brookings, South Dakota to face South Dakota State in the FCS semifinals.

Since the moment WSU needed NFL-bound linebacker Daiyan Henley to intercept Idaho’s pass late in the game to clinch the Cougs’ seven-point win against the FCS Vandals, head coach Jason Eck has been turning heads.

He led Idaho to the FCS playoffs for the first time since the school rejoined the FCS in 2018 and led them back to the promised land this year, clinching two home playoff games for the first time since 1988.

I owe a shout-out to the Idaho Vandal Marching Band. They sounded great from the stands all game and their halftime show was wonderful. As a trumpet player, I could not believe it when they layed on the ground and played their fight song. In the spirit of the season, their shakos were decorated with lights and at one point, the Kibbie Dome’s lights were turned off to show off the band’s lighted extravaganza.

They sounded great all game. I found it interesting how Idaho fans did not sing the fight song, but always chanted “I–D–A-H-O IDAHO, IDAHO, GO GO GO!” near the end of the song without fail.

I wore Coug gear to show my support and was greeted with open arms by the Vandal-faithful. “Thanks for showing up, Cougs!” I heard several times.

Both teams racked up over 400 yards with Albany holding the advantage 461-424. The Albany defense stood tall down the stretch, including protecting their first lead of the game by forcing QB McCoy to fumble.

I stuck around until the bitter end, past the final whistle and through the last note of the fight song.

It snowed before, during and after the game, making the walk to the car bittersweet and the cold sting a bit as I walked out of the heated Kibbie Dome into the elements. Bitter because of the loss met by the cold hard return to reality and sweat because it was snowing, I did not have to drive home (thank you roomie!) and I love snow.

Idaho had a wonderful season but that does not make losing hurt less. Vandals everywhere should be proud. This Coug certainly is.

College football is a wonderful thing. It unites communities, bonds strangers and strengthens friendships.

You can say the Vandals “Coug’d it” but unlike the Cougs, you can’t say they didn’t play a meaningful snap (or any snap) in December.

As WSU’s future remains in flux, it was a treat to unite behind a Palouse college football program in the driver’s seat of its destiny. And with a young team, hope springs eternal for Vandal football’s future, even in the age of the transfer portal, NIL and conference realignment. Idaho’s move to the FCS seems to have been the right call.

Idaho and the Kibbie Dome showed me everything right with college football. The atmosphere was incredible and the traditions brought a smile to my face. 

Idaho’s success this year should ensure Cougar faithful that Wazzu will be alright. Because as long as there is football to be played, there will be games to win, pride to take, fun to be had and memories to make.

Go Cougs and Go Vandals!


One optimistic college football enjoyer.

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About the Contributor
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.

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  • LANCE SALLADAYDec 13, 2023 at 9:01 am

    What a great summary of the game and what a nice review by a Coug. Idaho and Wazu are so close that it is fun to share support for the 2 schools. I always cheer for the Coug’s (except for the Apple Cup- my son went to UW- Sorry)

  • Kay Lynn HigginsDec 12, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    I am a Coug through and through and have been part of fund raising, serving on the Advisory Board for the College of Education, aunt of a nephew on the Coug football team, and a family of many Cougs! Always a Coug, but the Vandals recruited my grandson and he is a proud Vandal in the football team. We have had a wonderful time with Vandals! Now is a time we all need to support each other as universities in the Palouse! Go Cougs! And Go Vandals!!! Here’s to a great future fir both!